Rainy weather didn't stop crowds from venturing out and packing the Tamaqua Chamber Gallery on Thursday for the kick-off of a "Tamaqua - A Portrait in White," a sample of the work of Tamaqua native Scott Herring.
The photo exhibit debuted in its home showing at the 114 West Broad Street gallery, drawing guests and media from the eastern Pennsylvania region.
"We had people from as far away as the Lehigh Valley and Tower City," said Linda Yulanavage, Chamber executive director.
One attendee, whom Herring captured on film, said he admired Herring's approach.
"He'd even go down in the mines with us," said Ed Neidlinger, Pine Grove, who spotted himself in one of Herring's oversized images.
Neidlinger, an anthracite miner for the past 38 years, said he now works the Buck Mountain Slope #6, although he's pictured in Herring's collection working a different site.
"I just love his pictures," said Neidlinger's wife, Beth.
Another person who recognized himself was Deano Konstas, Tamaqua.
Konstas spent decades working as the doggie and burger meister at his famous eatery, the Texas Lunch in Tamaqua.
"I miss it," said Konstas, recalling friendships made over the years. Konstas was on hand with wife Marie and June Warner, Marie's sister.
Herring is celebrating his 40th Anniversary as the coal region's "Last Anthracite Photographer." The scenes from his hometown featured in this particular show were shot in the 1970s and 80s.
Herring likens his work to a family photo album but done on a much larger scale.
"Nearly forty years ago at age 13, I journeyed into these dark fields, with camera in hand, and began collecting messages and memories that have become our regional family history and will forever represent us to the future," he said. "Today, I'm fulfilling my continuing promise to you to gather our regional family together every 20 years to celebrate the industry that is our heritage; the region that is our home; and the people that I love."
The Tamaqua Historical Society hosted the opening reception in conjunction with the Tamaqua Chamber Gallery.
The exhibit will remain on display this summer and is presented free to the public
Herring's massive collection of imagery is widely considered the largest body of anthracite region documentation ever created. In his exhibits, Herring goes the extra mile by displaying descriptions and memories with each photograph.
The Tamaqua show is the first of seven venues throughout the Anthracite Region marking the 40th Anniversary of The Hardcoal Chronicles, the title encompassing Herring's body of work.